PHOTO EXCLUSIVE: A Week at the NAMT New Musicals Festival With Bryce Ryness and Friends
By Matthew Blank
An impressive roster of Broadway's best come together each year for the National Alliance for Musical Theatre's Festival of New Musicals, a two-day event that showcases short presentations of eight new musicals. Bryce Ryness, who is working on two shows with the Fest, lets us in on the rehearsal process.
NAMT invites industry members from across the country and around the world to attend the two-day event that showcases 45-minute presentations of eight new musicals. Betsy King Militello is the executive director of NAMT, which is presenting its 24th annual festival.
Tonya Pinkins (Jelly's Last Jam), Tony nominee Peter Friedman (Ragtime), Christy Altomare (Carrie), Katrina Diderickson (Pregnancy Pact), Olli Haaskivi (Bernice Bobs Her Hair), Nicholas Kohn (Avenue Q), Mary Jo Mecca (Little House on the Prairie) and Bryce Ryness (Hair/See Rock City) are part of Brendan Milburn, Rachel Sheinkin and Valerie Vigoda's Sleeping Beauty Wakes, directed by Rebecca Taichman with music direction by Brad Haak.
Sutton Foster ("Bundheads," Anything Goes, Thoroughly Modern Millie) leads the dast of The Circus in Winter, Ben Clark and Beth Turcotte's musical that also features Rachael Ferrara (Amazing Grace), Pat McRoberts (Miss Saigon), Brian Sutherland (1776), Steel Burkhardt (Hair), Kate Rockwell (Bring It On!), Marie-France Arcilla (Working), Emily Behny (Beauty and the Beast), Derrick Cobey (The Scottsboro Boys), Jonathan Jensen, Corey Mach (Godspell) and Jen Noble (Ghost). Victoria Bussert directs and Matthew Webb is the music director.
Kerry Butler (Catch Me If You Can), Drew Aber (A Tale of Two Cities), Demond Green (Sister Act), Kenita Miller (Xanadu), Alysha Umphress (American Idiot) and Emily Walton (The Shaggs) appear in Kirsten Childs' Funked Up Fairy Tales. Jerry Dixon directs with Steve Marzullo as music director.
Justin Levine's musical Bonfire Night features Tony nominee André De Shields (Play On), Chester Gregory (Sister Act), Bryce Pinkham (Ghost), Michael Winther (33 Variations), Tony nominee André De Shields (Play On), Jeremy Morse (Bloodsong of Love), Omar Lopez-Cepero (American Idiot), Eddie Wardel, Santino Fontana (Cinderella), Chris Hoch (Shrek) and Wade McCollum (Triassic Parq). Sam Buntrock directs with Kimberly Grigsby as music director.
Bleeding Love, by Jason Schafer, Arthur Lafrentz Bacon and Harris Doran, features Nicolette Hart (Rent), Tony nominee Nancy Opel (Urinetown), Damon Daunno (Brief Encounter), Robin DeJesus (In the Heights, La Cage aux Folles), Sarah Stiles (Into the Woods) and William Ryall (Chaplin). Stephen Brackett directs with musical direction by Jason Wetzel.
Curtis Moore, Thomas Mizer and Joshua Sher's Triangle features Wayne Wilcox (Chaplin), Adam Heller (Elf), Carrie Cimma (Lizzie Borden), Bryce Ryness (See Rock City…), Dana Steingold and Margot Siebert. The musical is directed by Meredith McDonough with James Sampliner as music director.
Itamar Moses and Gaby Alter's Nobody Loves You will feature Carla Duren (110 in the Shade), Adam Kantor (Rent), Lauren Molina (Rock of Ages), Nicole Lewis (Hair), Heath Calvert (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson), Kelsey Kurz (The Merchant of Venice), Phoebe Strole (Spring Awakening) and Etai Ben Shlomo (Wicked). Mike Pettry joins the team as music director. Michelle Tattenbaum will direct.
Dan Collins and Julianne Wick Davis' Southern Comfort will feature Erik Lochtefeld (Metamorphoses), Emmy and Academy Award nominee Annette O'Toole ("A Mighty Wind"), Jeff McCarthy (Urinetown), Natalie Joy Johnson (Legally Blonde), Robin Skye (Parade), Allison Briner (Mamma Mia!), Lizzie Hagstedt (Sweeney Todd), Joel Waggoner, Randy Redd (War Horse) and Andy Taylor (Once) in Southern Comfort. Tom Caruso directs with Emily Otto as music director.
As previously announced, the 2012 Songwriters Showcase, which highlights shows in development at NAMT's member organizations, will be hosted by Tony Award-winning Memphis writer Joe DiPietro and Tony-nominated actress Nancy Opel (Memphis, Urinetown).
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